Baltimore hit by ransomware attack

Baltimore hit by ransomware attack
© Getty

The city of Baltimore was hit by a ransomware attack on Tuesday and has shut down its servers, new Baltimore Mayor Bernard Young said on Twitter.

He said that the city's “essential services” are still operational and that, as of this afternoon, there is “no evidence” that any personal information “has left the system.”

ADVERTISEMENT

“Baltimore City core essential services (police, fire, EMS and 311) are still operational but it has been determined that the city’s network has been infected with a ransomware virus,” Young tweeted. “City employees are working diligently to determine the source and extent of the infection.”

Young, the former Baltimore City Council president who took over as mayor just last week after the resignation of former Mayor Catherine Pugh, said the city had "seen no evidence that any personal data has left the system."

"Out of an abundance of precaution, the city has shut down the majority of its servers," he added. "We will provide updates as information becomes available.”

The Baltimore Sun reported that City Hall personnel were told to disconnect their computers from the internet. Democratic City Councilman Ryan Dorsey told the publication that the ransomware virus is “apparently spreading computer-to-computer.”

At least two city services were impacted as of Tuesday afternoon.

Baltimore’s Department of Public Works (DPW) tweeted that “due to current network issues throughout the City, the Director of Public Works has suspended late water bill fees for City and County customers.”

DPW had previously tweeted that the “email outage has also taken down phone lines to Customer Support and Services, so for now we're unable to take calls to discuss water billing issues.”

The Baltimore City Department of Transportation tweeted that two impound lots and the Right of Way Services Division were impacted “due to Network/email outage.”

Baltimore is not the first major American city to be hit with a cyberattack.

Atlanta was attacked by the SamSam ransomware virus in 2018, which disrupted city government operations and functions.

The Department of Justice indicted two Iranian men in November for deploying this ransomware virus against more than 200 victims, including Atlanta, the city of Newark, N.J., the Port of San Diego and the Colorado Department of Transportation.